Sloan Fine Art is pleased to present “COMPUTER SCIENCE” by Jonathan Viner and The Folly of St Hubertus” by Elizabeth McGrath
Shortly after his first son was born, artist Jonathan Viner naturally had fatherhood and his own childhood on his mind. As children, Viner and his twin brother spent hours visiting the robotics lab at the New York Institute of Technology, where their father taught and worked. Faded memories of “computer nerds” playing Dungeons and Dragons, sharing ideas, and celebrating on New Year’s Eve came back to him as the artist shuttled between infant care, painting and conversations with artists, critics and enthusiasts over Facebook.
Inspired by the stunning impact these unlikely heroes from his childhood have had on the world, Viner began hunting online for class photos of computer science majors from the 1970’s. Those old photos, mined through Google on an iPad, became the starting point for “COMPUTER SCIENCE.” Further influenced by great portrait painters from the canon of art history, including Ingres and Currin, Viner set out to recreate these symbolic figures from his youth, infusing them with all of the idiosyncratic humor and thoughtfulness from his memories. By merging this contemporary theme and high tech resources with centuries-old techniques and methods of painting, Jonathan Viner has successfully brought together Google, Facebook, Apple, hogshair bristle brushes, oil paint and turpentine to pay homage to his own father and to the “nerds” from his childhood who went on to become the brilliant leaders whose groundbreaking ideas shaped the world in which his own son will grow up.
A native New Yorker, Jonathan Viner earned his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design. “COMPUTER SCIENCE” is his fourth solo exhibition in New York and second at Sloan Fine Art.
Running concurrently, in the project room, is “The Folly of St Hubertus,” by Elizabeth McGrath.
With “The Folly of St Hubertus,” Elizabeth McGrath fuses German folklore, contemporary materials and her trademark flair for the dramatic into one spectacular sculpture that touches on all of the recurring themes in her work – protecting and caring for the vulnerable, taking responsibility for how our actions impact the environment and co-existing conscientiously with the creatures of the earth.
Born in the seventh century, Hubertus was an avid hunter and woodsman who, while in the forest one Christmas Eve encountered the wondrous image of a splendid albino stag carrying a shining cross between its antlers. Through this vision, Hubertus was moved to transform his life. He laid down his high ranks of office, distributed his wealth among the poor and the church and dedicated his life to honoring the creatures of the forest and protecting animals from needless suffering. Today, Hubertus is the patron saint of hunters and animal protectionists in northern Europe and his devotees honor him by sharing their feasts with townspeople, holding charity fundraising festivals and being responsible for the care of animals on their lands, both domestic and wild.
With “The Folly of St Hubertus,” McGrath re-imagines the hunter’s transformative vision in gold leaf, wood, wax and over 30,000 hand-placed Swarovski crystals. Toying with the dual meaning of the word folly – as both an act of foolishness and an extravagant structure built to commemorate a person or event – McGrath enshrines Hubertus’ albino wounded deer, bleeding ruby red crystals and standing upon a collection of tattered and upturned human domiciles, in a 7 foot tall Plexiglas cathedral. The fantasy eight-legged creature glittering with bands of reflective light and pierced by golden arrows is simultaneously confrontational and ethereal. He at once entices with glorious beauty and shocks with profound sadness, giving one no choice but consider one’s own relationship with nature, the environment, those less fortunate and those who can not speak for themselves.
Self-taught, Elizabeth McGrath has exhibited extensively in galleries and museums in the US and Europe including the American Visionary Art Museum and the Bristol City Museum and Gallery. She lives in Downtown Los Angeles with her husband, the artist Morgan Slade and their hairless dogs Blue and King Tut. McGrath is currently working on her second solo exhibition for Sloan Fine Art, scheduled to open in 2012.
Sloan Fine Art is located at 128 Rivington Street on the Lower East Side of New York City. Hours are Wednesday to Sunday, noon to 6, and by appointment. To request more information or high-resolution jpegs, contact Alix Sloan at [email protected] or 212.477.1140.